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Living Well

Pushing Past Plateaus & Building Self-Awareness

Pushing Past Plateaus

With so much emphasis on perfection, winning, and holding ourselves to high expectations, we often forget the process of what it takes to meet our goals. What happens when you don’t preform the way you would like? Learn how to set goals and intentions for that moment and grow from your performance instead of being self-critical. Be present, build self-awareness, positive self-dialogue, and develop consistency to push past plateaus.

Winning, meeting one’s goals, and exceeding expectations feels great. But what happens when all the effort, energy, and thought you put in does not change anything and everything feels or stays the same? Essentially, you’ve hit a plateau.

Plateau is a state of little to no change after some time investment and/or activity. To push past a plateau, a good start is to build self-awareness. Who we are, how we feel about ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we want to present ourselves are all based in our values, belief systems, and assumptions. Here are three simple techniques to take your values, belief systems, and assumptions beyond the plateau:

  • Intentionally be kind to yourself; the negative self-critique holds us down.
  • Fully accept your performance; always find something to learn or take away.
  • Appreciate yourself without any criticism, comparison, or doubt.

The mind cannot function without the body and the body does not function without the mind (sounds like something from the Matrix movie). How we feel about ourselves and the story we tell ourselves is how we interact or react to the external world. We are always reacting to every stimulus day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute.

If you always do what you have always done, you always will get what you have always gotten. We have to take a fresh approach when we plateau, it is not about training harder or smarter; it is neither and it is both. Building awareness allows us to slow-down, speed-up, stop, create space for creativity, be kind or tough when needed, change our negative dialogue to positive and productive, and be in the moment.

No one ever says give me more stress and negativity. People seldom flourish in that environment, so why do we do it to ourselves? Consistency in performance comes from creating an inner environment that is aware, rich with self worth, self-value, self-kindness, self motivation, and focused on learning and improving.

Here are two mental practices anyone can start to do immediately:

  1. When brushing your teeth, say one to three things that you appreciate about yourself.
  2. Before every practice, workout, or performance set intent (goal) and post-performance acknowledge (reflection) on what you learned that will help you to grow.

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Living Well

Finding the Calm

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By Dr. Kirsten Hill, D.C. of Dance With Life Chiropractic

You probably have had a “nerve-wracking” experience at some point. Maybe you can remember an intense moment of being “nervous,” or having someone “get on your nerves.” Interestingly, when you feel stressed, exhausted or tense, it’s a sign that your nervous system is out of balance. Operating in this state (sympathetic nervous system) your physiology is on alert, ready for flight or flight.

The good news is that when cared for properly, your nervous system is a powerful network for transmitting energy and healing. To restore balance, there are many ways to return your body to a calm (parasympathetic) state facilitating whole body health and emotional well-being.

Let’s take a look at the three categories of input that influence your nervous system: physical, mental/emotional, and chemical. Learning how to nurture yourself with positive actions and reduce negative stress in each of these categories, you’ll greatly enhance your nervous system’s natural capacity for wholeness and vitality. In the physical realm, daily movement and structured classes such as workouts at Studiomix guide you in the right direction toward keeping your nervous system active and effectively communicating with the rest of your body.

If you have chronic or ongoing physical discomfort, you may need to incorporate active stretching, more rest, or some professional hands-on care. One tension-relieving tip you can practice right away is propping your phone or reading material up at eye level, instead of looking down causing poor spinal alignment.

When it comes to your emotional state, how can you reduce anxiety and promote happiness? Neuroscience shows that as humans evolved, our brains developed a negativity bias, to help us recognize and avoid potential danger. Thus, it’s naturally easier to imprint unpleasant memories. But wait! You can re-train your brain to focus on the positive in life. Practice this:  when you find something enjoyable, take time to savor it and fully engage your senses. Spend time reflecting on your blessings. Soon, your brain will become oriented toward joy and pleasure.

Last but not least, let’s consider the chemical realm. All those endorphins you experience after a workout – good stuff, eh? On the other hand, our bodies work hard daily to clear out toxins from the environment (and sometimes, from our diet). Inflammation is a key component of pain and many diseases, even depression. Omega-3 fish oils or vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flax and chia seed are recommended to decrease inflammation. Fresh fruits and veggies also do a splendid job of nourishing your cells and clearing out free radicals.

So, if you want happy nerves, you just need the right mix of physical, mental-emotional, and chemical ingredients. Rest assured that your body is remarkably good at self-healing, when your nervous system is balanced.


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Living Well

Recovering from Deconditioning Syndrome

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By: Dr. Lonna Denny, DC

Deconditioning syndrome is a term used to describe the series of physical and emotional events following an injury or psychological trauma that causes you to stop exercising. I think at one time or another every athlete has experienced this cascade of events. You get an injury which leads to time that you have to rest, repair, and recover. This period of time may be a couple of weeks at minimum or last a year plus. During this time you are unable to do your regular workout and you’re also dealing with the pain and the loss of mobility this injury has caused. You gain weight, lose muscle tone, and possibly even feel depressed.

A few years ago I tore my ACL in a sparring competition and had to have it repaired. The subsequent surgery left my body weak and stressed out. It was amazing how after years of being an athlete and in great shape, deconditioning syndrome set in.  I was losing muscle I had worked hard to build and the white noise of pain was constantly in the background of my mind. Being in constant discomfort after surgery caused my personality to change, and not for the better. Most people are aware that stress in the mind causes ailments in the body. Less recognized is that physical pain sets a constant background of stress for the mind. It is a vicious feedback loop. That first three months after surgery was one of the most mentally challenging times I have experienced. It taught me compassion for my patients experiencing deconditioning syndrome and those that have been dealing with chronic pain for years.  Over time we have developed a strategy for helping patients get out of this syndrome. Here are a few steps:

  • Get off the pain meds as soon as you can. The most commonly prescribed Vicodin and other opiate based prescriptions will make you constipated, lethargic, and are highly addictive.
  • Make an exercise plan based around your injury. For example one of my patients was having bunion surgery which would leave her unable to walk for weeks. We made a plan for core workouts and arm workouts she could do non-weight bearing.
  • Accelerate your healing process and decrease your pain levels with chiropractic care and acupuncture. After my knee surgery, my back hurt from limping around in a cast and all of that bed rest. My chiropractor restored mobility to my back and hips through adjusting the spine. He also used a cold laser on my knee which literally over night reduced the bruising and inflammation from surgery. A few weeks later I saw an acupuncturist whose treatment reduced the tension and pressure in the knee. These two healers got me back on my feet and decreased the pain so I could get back to my life. Worth every penny.
  • Lastly, be aware that you are going to deal with deconditioning syndrome on some level after a serious injury or trauma. Make a plan, get help, and most of all, be patient with yourself. This is a transitory state, but how long you stay there is up to you.

Injury isn’t ever ideal or expected, but it can provide you with an opportunity to reflect and plan for how you’ll come back stronger. As with any stress, the right mindset can make a huge difference in the healing process and beyond.


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Living Well

Soak in Aromatherapy

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Essential oil production is much like wine making: an art as well as a science.

An essential oil is a liquid that is distilled (most frequently by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils, contrary to the use of the word “oil” are not really oily feeling at all and contain the true living essence of the plant it was derived from. EO’s are highly concentrated and a little goes a very long way!

The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits. These benefits are usually achieved through methods of inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin. Simply through inhalation the therapeutic benefit begins.

​When you breath in, the olfactory system is engaged and sends direct messages to your central nervous system offering a diverse and wide variety of health benefits depending on the essential oil inhaled. In addition, when diluted and applied to the skin, these living extracts are absorbed and affect the nervous system of the body.​

Perfumes,​ ​as well as ​many household and beauty products,​ are primarily​ scented with artificially created fragrances that contain synthetic substances. Please note that these fragrances do not have living essence so they do not offer any of the therapeutic benefits that essential oils can. Always read the label and know what you’re breathing in.​

Here are just a few of the many healing properties offered by essential oils:

ANALGESIC – reducing the sensation of pain (pain reliever)

ANTIBIOTIC – preventing growth of bacteria (antibacterial)

ANTI-FUNGAL – preventing the growth of fungus

ANTI-INFECTIOUS – preventing infection

ANTISEPTIC – killing or preventing micro organism growth

ANTI-VIRAL – preventing the spread of viruses

BALSAMIC –  soothing sore, scratchy throats

CICATRISIV – promoting formation of scar tissue

DEPURATIVE (DETOXIFY) – detoxifying, cleansing and purifying blood and organs

DIURETIC – Promoting the removal of excess liquid in the body through urination

EXPECTORANT – breaking up mucus

IMMUNOSTIMULANT – stimulating immunity

PECTORAL – benefiting the respiratory system

SEDATIVE – calming the mind and reducing mental excitement

SOPOFORIC – inducing sleep and relieving insomnia

STIMULANT – awakening bodily functions

STOMACHIC – aiding digestion and acting as a gastric tonic

TONIC – restoring and invigorating the body

VERMIFUGE – expelling intestinal worms (anti-parasitic)

Bringing essential oils into your daily routine is really quite simple. Explore organicdovation.com to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils.


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Living Well

The Microbes Within: Probiotics & Prebiotics

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We have become a germophobic culture. We use antibacterial soap at most sinks, ultra-pasteurize our food, and even disinfect our shopping carts before we touch them. Most of us appreciate good hygiene and sanitation as much as the next person, but are all bacteria bad? When it comes to food, our digestive tracts and our immunity, the presence of bacteria is essential to overall good health.

Bacteria generally have a bad rep, so the idea of throwing a few billion down the hatch per day for your health might seem hard to swallow. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria called probiotics!

What in the world are probiotics?

Probiotics (pro + biota, combined to mean “for life”) are living bacteria that line our intestinal walls. These “friendly bacteria” not only aid digestion and strengthen immunity, they also help ward off pathogens, balance out the aftermath of antibiotic therapy, improve tolerance to lactose, clear up skin disorders, regulate emotions and mitigate depression.

The human GI tract contains more than 500 species of bacteria. This community of trillions of microbes together weighs up to 2.2 pounds and its cells outnumber human cells by a whopping 10:1- no wonder they’re so important!

If probiotics are alive, how do they thrive?

Probiotics feed on a special form of naturally occurring dietary fiber called prebiotics. Prebiotics foster an inviting, lush environment in our bodies and nourish the thousands of good bacterial species already living in our gut. Fortunately, they are found in thousands of edible plants so if you are a vegetable monger, you’re set! Green vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes, oatmeal, and legumes are particularly rich sources.

Making friends with “good” bacteria

Probiotics can be found in dairy, fruit or vegetable foods that are allowed to sour or ferment deliberately out of refrigeration. This ancient practice is called lacto-fermentation, and it not only makes food easier to digest, it also boosts nutritional value and provides many of the  health benefits described above. Yogurt and kefir, cultured vegetables, and fermented beverages like kombucha are some of the probiotic foods eaten throughout the world today.

In addition to buying the many probiotic rich products on the market, you can easily make your own tasty and nutritious probiotic foods at home to boost your health with surprisingly little effort or expense. The time and energy spent to prepare these tasty, curious delights is truly worth it. You’ll see exponential returns in your health and you may even have fun experimenting in your kitchen lab too!

Get Cultured!

Traditionally preparing foods can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Fermenting at home is not nearly as complicated or time consuming as you may think. Sauerkraut, for example, requires very little equipment, and will save you loads of money. By using a few simple ingredients (cabbage and pink Himalayan salt) plus minimal tools (a cutting board, large bowl, knife and Mason jar) a boatload of homemade sauerkraut is at your fingertips. Once you understand the process you’ll be delighted by the end product. There’s just something extra special about creating healthy foods from scratch!

 

To keep you inspired and exploring the edible microbial world, you can find tons of fantastic recipes online. Master Fermentor, Sandor Katz’s book, Wild Fermentation is a great resource that explores the fun and delicious world of cultured foods. Here are just a few ideas to start exploring: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso, microalgae, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha.

See you Saturday!

 


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